Reply by douglbe

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Posted on milling dilema

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369 posts in 3931 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 01:42 AM

Here is a formula for figuring out how much in board feet you can expect from a log: (((avg diameter X Avg diameter) / 2) X (length in inches / 144). This is surprisingly accurate, I used it on 26 logs and my calculations were 2400 bd ft and I ended up with 2200 bd ft. You may want to get and idea of what you have in bd ft and figure what you would might be paying per/bd ft.

Take your 48” dia. by 6 ft trunk and that is approx. 576 bd ft (but, not likely it is 48” the entire length). If the avg dia. is just 40”, that is 400 bd ft. If the log took an hour to cut that is only $.13 and $.19/bd ft at $75 an hour. That is not bad at all, my lumber ended up $.21 a bd ft. I don’t know how long it would take to cut a Walnut log that large. It all boils down to how much is the wood worth to you. Lets use the 400 bd ft example, if you sold half the rough sawn lumber at $2.50 bd ft that’s $500. $2.50 would be a great price for the other guy for Black Walnut.

Nomad62 has a good idea, get the sawyer’s opinion on length of time to cut and if you want to you can figure the possible bd ft yield and you can determine your possible cost per bd ft.

I think you could easily sell some to cover your costs and it wouldn’t be near half of the lumber. Keep an eye on Craigslist “materials” in different parts of California and see if you can find some listings for rough sawn lumber to get an idea of Walnut prices or call some lumber yards that deal with rough sawn lumber and see what it sells for, this will probably be kiln dried. Ones I have seen in Michigan charge $.30 to $.45 a bd ft to dry lumber.

Hope this is helpful and good luck. Let us know how things turn out and some pics of your gold mine would be great. Some of those wide boards are going to look fantastic.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

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